So let's start this thing up!
How to Play is the standard "Training School" of FF, where random NPCs talk about various gameplay elements. Not necessary since the two new things are explained in-game. Select Story lets you play one of the additional chapters, which we will get to later. For now, New Game!
Biggs: Very good.
Wedge: You don't look well, Prince Ceodore.
I can tell you're nervous about this. It is your first deployment, after all. Try talking with some of the other soldiers and take your mind off matters.
And thus we gain control of this chapter's progatonist, Ceodore Harvey, son of Cecil and Rosa.
As you can see from the RPG-Maker menu, our hero is L1. He's not an experienced soldier like his father was at the start of FF4. He's not actually even a member of the Red Wings yet.
Being the son of two people who can use White Magic, Ceodore can naturally cast a few spells of his own. In fact, he can be one of the better white mages in the game due to his speed and ability to deliver a hit. Of course, he only has Cure right now. He has no other abilities at the moment.
If you play this game, for the love of God, change the battle speed to 1. The game is unbearable otherwise.
Right, time to talk to the soldiers.
Did you know that he actually served as captain of the Red Wings before becoming king?
The Red Wings are the pride of Baron, the most elite of our kingdom's forces. We may not be at war, but our training regimen is as fierce and grueling as always!
The Adamant Isle looks peaceful enough at first glance, I'll give you that. There's a grotto there, though...a holy land, of sorts. All knight trainees will visit there once.
It is the staging ground for your initiation trial in becoming a knight, my lord. It goes without saying, of course, how overjoyed your father Cecil is to see you finally taking on this task.
Monsters don't play favorites. Royalty or peasants--they aren't picky about their prey. It's just as true for us Red Wings, too, I suppose. You may be the crown prince of Baron, but it means nothing here on this ship.
So we're going to the land of pigs, frogs, and midgets to go to this mysterious grotto to become a member of the Red Wings. Apparently Cecil did the same thing in his youth.
How are you feeling now, my lord? Better?
Thankfully, Ceodore gets all his moping out in the first twenty minutes or so, choosing instead to be merely bland for the rest of the game instead of insufferable.
Of course, we still have to endure that first twenty minutes or so first.
But considering your bloodline, there's nothing for you to be worried about.
Yes, my lord. You have inherited the blood of two great heroes: King Cecil the paladin and Queen Rosa the mage.
I think Ceodore knows who his own parents are, Wedge.
Wedge is perhaps too nice to Ceodore, constantly babying him.
You're no soldier yet. You're nothing but a squire. The Red Wings isn't the playground it was back in King Cecil's day.
Biggs is the bad cop to Wedge's good cop.
He also happens to be the best character this chapter. Anyone willing to smack the whine out of Ceodore deserves a few props.
Ready to touch down on the Adamant Isle, Captain!
Good. All hands, landing stations!
The crew disembarks...
You are to report to the village of Mythril up ahead and await further orders. Got it?
Can't hear you! Say it like you mean it, boy!
Now move out!
Welcome to the Adamant Isle. Those familiar to the original may recognize the cave as the same one you traded those damn tails in for kick-ass equipment. Indeed, it's the very same, and will also be our first dungeon shortly. You may also remember the cave only being accessible via Hovercraft due to the cave being on its own little island surrounded by shoals.
What I'm wondering is just how Cecil did his trial in the first place, all those years ago. Did he swim to the island in full armor or something?
Anyway, let's check out the town.
There is one requirement, boy! You can't enter the grotto until the moon is at its fullest. You'd best get yourself ready before then, mentally and physically.
Is there any reason why I have to wait for the full moon, sir?
You can talk to Wedge, who then gives some speech about how the moon's presence affects everything, blah blah blah, but mainly it's an introduction to The After Years' first gameplay addition: The Lunar Phase.
There are four moon phases, which change whenever you go to sleep, during certain plot events, or even after a certain amount of in-game time. They always follow the same cycle, so Waxing progresses to Full, and so on.
Press Y (or B if you're a horrible person and not using the Classic Controller) in the menu to see the current phase. Each phase boosts something and hurts something. For example, Waxing Moon boosts White Magic by a third while diminishing Black Magic by a third. There's also regular attacks (sword) and special abilities like Jump or Throw (star). The thing to note is that these affect both sides of the battlefield.
Essentially, the game wants you to move to a Full Moon to reduce physical damage, thus ensuring the monsters don't knock poor Ceodore senseless. Before we do that, let's go exploring.
Most NPCs don't really have much substantial to say.
Not that it's much compared to the big continents, of course...
This one gives an explanation for why the Grotto is now on the same island as the town. A bit of foreshadowing, perhaps?
As you may have guessed, the moon does have a big presence in this game.
TAY continues the tradition of hiding items in tall grass.
...We would be, anyway, if I hadn't lost my precious ring. Maybe I dropped it while I was resting in the tall grass.
Well, that was simple.
Now, we could keep the ring for ourselves. Granted, we have no real use for it, as it offers a small amount of magic resistance and prevents Pig status, both of which are nonfactors this chapter (does anything in this game even cast Pig?). Better just to return the damn thing.
Here's a little something for finding the ring. Go ahead, take it!
Now that's more like it.
I'd say that money was a much better investment than that stupid ring, wouldn't you say? The rest goes toward a Bronze Helmet.
The crew also dances on request if you return the ring, which is always neat.
How about we progress the game?
Full Moon! Physical attacks down, Black Magic up!
Next time, we do our first dungeon, learn the second gameplay addition, and experience more riveting story!